Memories Pizza, a family-owned pizza restaurant in Walkerton, Indiana, announced that it reserves the religious right to not supply pizza for weddings of same-sex couples, devastating the literally zero gay couples planning to serve pizza at their weddings. "If a gay couple came in and wanted us to provide pizzas for their wedding, we would have to say no," Crystal O'Connor, an employee at Memories Pizza, told ABC 57. We wish anyone affected by this misfortune the best in finding pizza, a scarce resource in middle America.
The United States, Britain, France, Germany, Russia, and China were reportedly very close to an agreement with Iran on nuclear power yesterday, and are furiously trying to patch the remaining problems even though the deadline passed at midnight. The hope is that a deal might be reached on April Fools' Day. “I hope that we can finalize the work on Wednesday and hopefully start the process of drafting,” Iranian foreign minister Javad Zarif told The Wall Street Journal. French foreign minister Laurent Fabius didn't seem as optimistic, telling Reuters, "Things have progressed, but not enough ... that we can reach an immediate deal. We are firm. We want a robust deal with detailed checks."
"Fingers crossed." said British foreign secretary Philip Hammond. Another diplomat who wanted to remain anonymous, probably because of their less-than-sunny opinions, told the Washington Post that the deal didn't seem so close.
When Ellis Jones was named editor-in-chief of Vice magazine in February, she received a flood of emails from aspiring contributors who opened their pitches with a crucial error. “They were all like, “Dear Mr. Jones …,” she says between sips of a Narragansett poured from the steady-flowing tap at the Gutter, a divey Williamsburg bowling alley just a few convenient blocks from the Vice headquarters. Here, Jones partakes in a weekly bowling league with a group of dude friends. They’re fresh off a big loss. “People who haven’t met me always assume I’m a dude,” she says.
One could be forgiven for assuming the name Ellis (she chose her middle over her first name, Lauren, as a kid) belongs to a man. One could also be forgiven for assuming that the new editor-in-chief of Vice, a publication historically characterized by a lewd masculinity, would be a guy. As the first female editor-in-chief in Vice magazine’s two decades, the 30-year-old Jones will be forced to shake off some other less literal misconceptions about her gender and her employer. Like the idea that the company is a hedonistic fun-house for alt bros in the mold of its founder, Gavin McInnes (who’s known for things like “The Vice Guide to Eating Pussy,” along with charges of white supremacy and transphobia). Vice has undergone a slow but dramatic maturation: The company’s current COO Alyssa Mastromonaco is not only a woman, but a former White House staffer. “I’m trying to figure out how to bring in an audience we never had before,” Jones says. “To make them realize that it’s not a lad’s mag, and that we don’t just do dick and fart jokes.”
Arkansas legislators took a look at the massive backlash against Indiana's new religious-freedom law and decided they still want in. Despite a new round of protests from multiple corporations, including Walmart, the state's largest employer, on Tuesday afternoon the Arkansas House approved the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA). Now it heads to the desk of Republican governor Asa Hutchinson, who has said he intends to sign it.
Opponents say such laws are intended to make it easier to discriminate against LGBT individuals, but now that the issue has drawn national attention, Arkansas legislators insist that was never their intent. Republican state representative Bob Ballinger, who sponsored House Bill 1228, said claims that the bill is anti-gay are a "mischaracterization." "What my bill was focused on was to let somebody believe what they want to believe, carry out that belief and not have the state interfere with it," he told CNN.
Investigators now have a working theory on what caused the explosion and seven-alarm fire that brought down three East Village buildings last week, leaving two dead and 22 injured. Con Edison has said that last summer it found the authorized gas line into Sushi Park, which was on the ground floor of 121 Second Avenue, had been tapped to supply gas to the apartments above. The restaurant's owner, Hyeonil Kim, speculated that after the repairs, the building's landlord began siphoning gas from the neighboring buildings instead. Con Edison employees inspected the building shortly before the explosion on Thursday, and law enforcement officials tell the New York Times they think the blast may have been caused by someone attempting to reinstall the siphoning apparatus after it was hidden for the inspection.
With his Reagan worship and dodging on questions about evolution, Scott Walker tries to act like he's a normal Republican presidential contender, but tonight the New York Times reveals he's struggling with a medical condition that can be debilitating for presidential candidates. While just about every other 2016 hopeful has a canine friend (Bobby Jindal's team assures the paper he "likes dogs!" and plans to get one when he leaves the Louisiana governor's office), Walker is allergic to dog dander. His spokeswoman confirmed the report, saying it's "unfortunate because he loves animals." Walker did have a fish growing up, but America needs a real pet in the White House. Can a goldfish star in an adorable video about White House Christmas decorations? Maybe, but it's not going to frolic with the president on the South Lawn when his administration is consumed by scandal.
President Barack Obama commuted 22 drug sentences today, bringing the total he has given over his six years in office to 43. Eight of the inmates were serving life in prison. The sentences will expire on July 28, 2015.
The White House announced a new clemency initiative last year that would fast track commutations and pardons for people who have already spent 10 years in prison, partly in response to the fact that the long sentences given to these offenders are no longer doled out today. "These older, stringent punishments that are out of line with sentences imposed under today’s laws erode people’s confidence in our criminal justice system," Deputy Attorney General James M. Cole said when announcing the initiative. The Justice Department said at this time last year that more than 23,000 people were serving sentences longer than ten years.
In response to Indiana's decision to pass a law last week that allows businesses to refuse service to LGBT customers, New York governor Andrew Cuomo announced today that he's put forth a ban on all nonessential state-sponsored travel to the state. "New York State has been, and will continue to be, a leader in ensuring all LGBT persons enjoy full and equal civil rights," Cuomo said. "With this action, we stand by our LGBT family members, friends, and colleagues to ensure that their rights are protected." State workers across New York forced to travel to the middle of nowhere for boring conferences may now breathe a sigh of relief.
Indiana Governor Mike Pence announced today that he will support new legislation to amend and clarify his state’s religious-freedom law, which may or may not have opened the door to legalized business discrimination against gays. Pence was forced to revise the state’s law by a swift and overwhelming social backlash supported by a number of business leaders.